Gender Roles In Shakespearan Society And Modern Society As Viewed In Movies

1371 words - 5 pages

Susan B. Anthony, a woman American civil rights leader said, “I shall earnestly and persistently continue to urge all women to the practical recognition of the old Revolutionary maxim. Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.” This quote directly relates to the stereotypical thinking about gender in both the Elizabethan Era and 19th century because women wanted to be recognized. In Chekhov’s, “The Lady with the Little Dog,” Dmitri Gurov experiences women to be the “lower race,” but when he meets Anna Sergeyovna he begins to think differently. One of Shakespeare’s works, Twelfth Night, depicts a love triangle that plays an important gender role. In addition, Viola/Cesario disguises herself in order to survive in the Illyria. In the film, Shakespeare in Love, Viola de Lesseps fools society by dressing as man, Thomas Kent, to follow Shakespeare, her love of the theater. The film reminds us repeatedly, a complex world where gender roles are uncertain, and things are seldom what they may seem. Anton Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Little Dog” and William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, along with the film Shakespeare in Love, depict the similarities of the Elizabethan Era and 19th century of women through induced character roles and powerful emotions. Shakepeare in Love comes closest to breaking the gender seal because the Viola uses clear and concise actions throughout the film.
In “The Lady with the Little Dog,” Chekhov’s character, Dmitri Gurov, an initial male chauvinist married man, has lust for many females, but changes to heart-felt love when he encounters Anna Sergeyovna. She counteracts Dmitri view of women as the “lower race” by using shy and constrained appearances to aid her throughout their meetings. Chekhov describes Anna as “touching, had a breath of purity of a proper, naïve, and a little-experienced woman.” Here Chekhov supports Anna Sergeevna when she says, “I love an honest, pure life sin is vile to me, I myself don’t know what I’m doing. Simple people say, ‘the unclean one beguiled me.’ And now I can say of myself that the unclean one has beguiled me.” (469). Anna displays her innocence as a strong emotion towards her love by Dmitri still being mesmerized by the plainness of her personality. As the memories burn “brighter and brighter,” Dmitri is “tormented” by the constant memories of Anna. Gurov hears “her breathing and the gentle rustle of her skirts” as Anna’s image follows him like a “shadow.” Speaking “vaguely of love,” Dmitri concludes that no one around him is capable of understanding his newly discovered emotions hidden behind his false exterior. Chekhov, goes into detail again about Dmitri outlook on women when he states, “Every personal existence was upheld by a secret, and it was perhaps partly for that reason that every cultivated man took such anxious care that his personal secret should be respected” (475). The stereotypical thinking about gender begins to take a turn because Dmitri learns to respect women and Chekhov...

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